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How Technical Skills Assessments Improve the Hiring Process
Megan McHughDecember 17, 20205 min read

How Technical Skills Assessments Improve the Hiring Process

Pre-hire assessments are an increasingly popular recruitment tool used to evaluate candidates for technical positions of all levels. By introducing technical assessments into your recruiting process, you can expect to hire top-tier talent while saving time and money. First, let’s understand what skills assessments are and why companies use them.


What is a Pre-Hire Skills Assessment?

Pre-hire skills assessments are designed to test candidates’ code skills or evaluate how they work through a real-world problem during the recruitment process. Employers design these assessments to ensure candidates have the knowledge and skills necessary to complete a job. While pre-hire skills assessments have traditionally been used for senior-level positions, there has been a shift towards using them for any level.

Recruiters may decide to use simple code tests as screening questions for applicants before the interview process begins. This allows them to focus on the candidates who are familiar with the languages or skills required to perform the job.

Alternatively, employers might decide to use more in-depth skills assessments or real-world simulations in late-stage interviews to evaluate the final few candidates. Skills and experience remain the number one priority for hiring managers, and this is a way to select the top-performing candidate.

Who Uses Skills Assessments?

While you might think only enterprise companies are using skills assessments in their recruiting measures, businesses of all sizes implement them. According to Talent Board [1], 58% of employers are assessing candidates based on job-specific skills. Beyond just basic skills assessments, 36% of employers provide real-world simulations for candidates to perform based on job requirements.

While many organizations are likely to implement some form of pre-hire assessments, best-in-class companies are 45% more likely to use them during the recruiting process compared to other organizations [2]. These companies are also more likely to build success profiles, meaning they have a clear understanding of what skills and attributes they seek in a candidate.

Candidates Want Skills Assessments

Skills assessments designed to simulate real-world scenarios, based on a job position, benefit both recruiters and candidates. Candidates prefer these assessments to basic coding tests [3] because they get a hands-on understanding of the work that would be required of them if they were to accept an offer. Candidates are eager to apply their knowledge and experience and demonstrate their skills for potential employers, whether through skills assessments or portfolio reviews.

How Do You Assess Staff Technical Skills?

While assessing skills like design and writing come from a portfolio review, you may wonder how you can assess something like technical skills while hiring. Technical skill assessment is actually very simple to build into your hiring process and allows you to ensure that your candidate’s skill set aligns with what is listed on their resume.

To include a technical skills assessment in your hiring process, you must do three key things:

  1. Determine which technical skills assessment is appropriate for each job you plan on posting.
  2. Assess what level of proficiency is right for each role.
  3. Determine which software provider to partner with to kickstart your technical skills assessment process.

Which Skills Can Be Assessed in Technology?

Depending on the position you’re hiring for, you can assess for any number of different technical skills.

Some of the skills that are hallmarks of the computer science industry include programming, mathematics, data analysis, and data visualization.

Here’s how you can assess candidate skill level for each of these categories:

Programming: Assess your candidate’s programming competency by having them demonstrate knowledge of algorithms and coding language.

Mathematics: To determine the level of your candidate’s mathematics skills, incorporate statistics, calculus, and other advanced mathematical tenets.

Data Analysis: To be successful, most candidates must be able to complete some functional data analysis. Test their competency through problems that demand synthesis.

Data Visualization: Your ideal candidate must be able to properly visualize and convey data in consumable ways. To ensure that your candidate is competent in this area, incorporate data visualization assessments in your hiring process.

These four areas are a great starting place for any would-be hire. By assessing competency in these areas, you can determine where your candidate fits in the hierarchy of your organization.

How Do You Pass a Technical Skills Assessment?

While candidates may feel confident about their ability to pass a technical skills assessment, anyone considering applying for a new position should take time to adequately prepare for these assessments.

Here are six helpful steps you can take to ensure that you are set up for success for a technical skills assessment.

  1. Prepare: Be sure that you are adequately prepared for your technical skills assessment by getting a good night’s sleep, knowing where you have to be and when, and ensuring you know what to expect from the assessment itself
  2. Take Practice Assessments: Regardless of how sharp you think your skills are, taking practice assessments can help you ready for the timed component of the assessment day
  3. Don’t Underestimate the Test’s Importance: Regardless of how good your interview skills are if you bomb the technical skills assessment, there’s likely no coming

Save Time and Money with Pre-Hire Assessments

Pre-hire assessments can help identify top candidates. By including skills assessments in the early stages of your recruitment process, you can quickly narrow down a large applicant pool to a select few people to interview..

Surveys have shown that 78% of companies that use these screening tools hire qualified candidates who meet performance goals within their first 12 months [2]. High performing, satisfied employees are more likely to stay with companies longer than unsatisfied hires, leading to increased onboarding costs.

Look out for our blog next week that takes a deep dive on how you can use candidate assessments to shorten your hiring process while saving money!


[1] Zielinski, D. (2019, August 16). Predictive assessments give companies insight into candidates’ potential. SHRM.

[2] Lahey, Z. (2015). Pre-Hire Assessments: An Asset for HR in the Age of the Candidate. Aberdeen Group.

[3] Shen, J. (2018, January 2). A big reason tech candidates don’t get job offers? Weak tech skills. Fast Company.


Megan McHugh

Megan is a Marketing Manager at Codio. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications.